Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Brined Pork Chops with Blackberry Maple Sauce (as adapted from “Sweet Lorraine’s” in Michigan)

Brined Pork Chops

6 bone-in rib loin pork chops (12 ounces each), 1½ inches thick

1 ½ quarts water

3 tablespoons table salt

3 tablespoons sugar

Dissolve salt, sugar and add optional herbs in 1½ quarts water in medium container or gallon-sized zipper-lock bag. Submerge chops and refrigerate for one hour. Note that if chops are frozen, the defrosting process can take place in the brine (e.g., if defrosting process takes two hours, the last hour can take place in the brine.)

Rinse chops under cold water and dry thoroughly with paper towels. Grill until heated just through, approximately 3-4 minutes per side or until juices run clear.

QUICK BRINE METHOD: change brine ingredients slightly, increasing salt from 3 T to ¼ cup and decreasing water to 1 quart; soak in brine for 30 minutes, rather than one hour.

Blackberry Maple Sauce

Makes 6 servings

9 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided (chilled and cubed)

8 tablespoons sugar

1 cup dry white wine

1 cup orange juice

1/3 cup raspberry wine vinegar

1 1/2 pounds semi-frozen blackberries

1/2 cup low-sodium beef broth or stock

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon dry thyme

2 tablespoons cornstarch, blended with 2 tablespoons cold water

1/4 cup port or brandy

1/4 cup dark real maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

Heat 6 tablespoons butter in sauce pan until melted. Add sugar, stir. Continue to cook over medium heat until sugar melts and starts to turn amber (brush sides of pan with ice water to remove sugar crystals). Whisk mixture to combine the butter and sugar, add wine and orange juice (this will bubble up and the sugar will harden slightly). Continue to cook over medium heat until the sugar starts to melt, scraping bottom of pan if necessary. Add vinegar, semi-frozen blackberries, stock and herbs. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium. Heat and continue to cook for 30 minutes.

Strain sauce in a fine mesh, large strainer; it will take as long as 30 minutes to strain. Throw out solids and bring liquid back to a boil, reduce heat and whisk in cornstarch mix. Sauce will thicken slightly. Add port/brandy, maple syrup and salt, and whisk to combine. Continue to cook over medium heat, about 15 minutes. Blend in remaining 3 tablespoons cold butter. Remove from heat and add fresh blackberries.

Use sauce at once or store in refrigerator (to reheat do not bring to a boil but heat slowly over low heat). Yields: 4 cups.

Beef Poor Boys

6 slices bacon, partially cooked
1 lb ground beef
Lemon pepper, to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 (2 oz) can mushrooms, finely chopped
3 tbls finely chopped green olives
2 tbls finely chopped onions
2 tbls finely chopped green bell pepper

Pat ground beef onto waxed paper into a 9 x 10 1/2 x 1/4-inch thick rectangle. Sprinkle lightly with lemon pepper. Top with Parmesan. Combine remaining ingredients and sprinkle over meat. Roll up jelly roll style, beginning from short end. Cut into 1 1/2" slices (makes 6). Wrap each slice with bacon and skewer with a toothpick. Grill over medium heat approx 8 minutes, turn and grill 8 more until done.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Chicken and Rice

2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup sliced celery
1 cup sliced mushrooms
3 to 6 large chicken breasts, sliced into medallions
1 1/2 cups rice
48 ounces chicken broth
1 (14.5 ounce) can Cream of Chicken & Mushroom soup

Saute mushrooms, carrots, and celery with dried dill and black pepper in butter or margarine; about 5 minutes or until the mushrooms begin to release their liquid.

Add chicken broth and cream of chicken and mushroom soup to the vegetables, whisking until the soup is well-blended with the broth. Add chicken medallions. Cook over medium-high heat until the chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken to a plate; cover to keep warm.

Bring liquid to a boil and add rice. Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook 20 minutes or until rice is done.

Return the chicken breast medallions to the pot and continue to cook over low heat until the chicken breasts are desired temperature. Serve.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Chicken Satay

3 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts

6 cloves garlic, chopped
4 tsp. coriander
4 tsp. light brown sugar
1 tbsp. black pepper
2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. soy sauce
4 tsp. ginger, chopped
2 tbsp. lime juice
6 tbsp. oil

Mix marinade ingredients. Cut chicken into 1 1/2-2 inch cubes. Add to mixture and marinate at least two hours.
Soak skewers in water for 20 minutes. Thread chicken pieces onto one end of skewers. Broil or barbecue, basting with marinade. Serve with peanut sauce for dipping.

Peanut Sauce:
1 2/3 c. peanut butter (chunky or creamy)
1/2 tsp. hot chili sauce
3 cloves garlic, crushed
5 tbsp. honey
1/4 -1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/3 c. lime juice
1/3 c. soy sauce
2/3 c. peanut oil

Mix ingredients together. Should have a sweet/hot peanut flavor. Taste and adjust ingredients accordingly.

Frozen instructions:

Cut up chicken and place in freezer bag with marinade. Freeze immediately. Prepare peanut dipping sauce as directed and freeze.

To prepare from frozen, thaw chicken in refrigerator 24 hrs+. Cook as directed above. Thaw peanut sauce and serve room temperature with cooked chicken.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Lasagne con le Verdure ~ Vegetable Lasagna

1 pound carrots, peeled, washed, and cut into 1/4 inch disks
6 TBS butter, plus additional butter for greasing the lasagna pan
6 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half
1 pound zucchini, soaked, washed and trimmed and sliced into 1/4 inch disks (see below for soaking info)
1 pound broccoli
Oven Bake lasagna noodles

For the Béchamel:
3 cups milk
5 TBS butter
4 1/2 TBS flour
pinch of salt

1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
1 3/4 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano

* After slicing the zucchini place it in a colander over a bowl and sprinkle with 2 TBS of fine salt. Mix well and allow to stand for at least 30 minutes to give it time to throw off as much liquid as possible. Pat dry with paper towels.

Choose a skillet that can subsequently accommodate the carrots loosely. Put in 1 1/2 TBS of the butter, 2 of the garlic cloves and turn on the heat to medium. When the garlic becomes colored light brown and remove from the pan.
Add the carrots and 3 TBS of water. Cook the carrots stirring from time to time, until they are tender, but firm, somewhat shrunken, and a light brown color.Do not let them break up. When done, add salt and transfer to a small mixture bowl.

In a clean skillet large enough to accommodate the zucchini loosely, put in 1 1/2 TBS of the butter and 2 more cloves of garlic. Turn on the heat to medium. When the garlic becomes colored a light brown remove it from the pan. Add the sliced zucchini and cook them as you did the carrots. When they have shrunk, becoming colored a light brown, and are tender but firm, add salt stir, then transfer them from the pan to a small mixing bowl.

Wash the broccoli in cold water then peel away the hard green skin from the stems. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add salt then drop in the broccoli. Cook until nearly tender, but still firm. Drain as soon as it is cool enough to handle cut into 1/2 inch pieces.

Put 2 TBS of the butter and the remaining 2 cloves garlic in a clean skillet and turn the heat to medium. When the garlic becomes colored a light brown remove it. Put in the broccoli pieces and cook, turning them frequently, until they are tender but not mushy. Transfer them from the pan into a third mixing bowl.

Make the béchamel sauce. When done mix into it the grated nutmeg and 1 cup of the grated cheese. Set aside 1/2 cup of the béchamel and divide the rest into 3 equal parts. ( I doubled the sauce). Into each of the 3 bowls containing the cooked vegetables mix 1 of the 3 portions of béchamel. Taste and correct seasonings

Smear the bottom of the pan generously with butter. Spread 2 TBS béchamel over the bottom of the buttered pan. Line the bottom with a layer of noodles, fitting them edge to edge. (Do not over lap).

Turn oven to 400 degrees.
Spread half the zucchini and béchamel mixture over the pasta. If doesn't matter if there is enough to cover the pasta completely as long as any gaps are filmed lightly with béchamel. Sprinkle some grated cheese evenly over this layer.

Cover the zucchini with a layer of pasta, always edge to edge with out over laps.

Spread half the carrot mixture and béchamel mixture over the pasta in the same manner you spread the zucchini topping with a layer of grated cheese, and covering with a layer of pasta. Continue in the same manner with the broccoli and then repeat the above operations until you have used all the vegetables. Top with a layer of pasta and spread remaining béchamel sauce. Top with cheese. Dot with remaining tablespoons of butter. Place the pan in the uppermost part of the oven and bake 15 to 20 minutes until a light golden crust forms on top. Allow to settle for 10 minutes before serving.

Freezer method: Make up until the baking part and cover with foil. Freeze. Thaw in fridge for 24 hours cook 45 minutes to an hour until golden. You may need to cover with foil.

( I confess when I make this for my family I mash the garlic and leave it in:)